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MONCKS CORNER, S.C. – (Thursday, June 24, 2021) – Five rural fire departments on the Northern end of Berkeley County are merging operations to save costs and improve services to citizens. The following fire departments have merged with the St. Stephen Volunteer Fire Department: Lake Moultrie Fire Department, Bonneau Rural Fire Department, and Forty-One Rural Fire Department. Effective July 1, 2021, Shulerville-Honey Hill Fire Department will also be merging with these departments. 

Each fire district will contain paid, part-time firefighters. Also, departments will be allowed to maintain their individual identities, including keeping their department names on buildings and fire trucks. St. Stephen Volunteer Fire Department will serve as the parent department and assume administrative control of all five districts. The departments will also form a unified Board of Directors containing representatives from each fire district.

Each department has volunteered to be part of the merger in order to improve the overall fire protection system in the County’s rural areas. Fire officials also saw a way to help save money by eliminating unnecessary administrative and maintenance costs that are duplicated in each district.

This is an exciting opportunity for the fire service in the north end of Berkeley County to take a major step forward.  I’m both proud and impressed by the unselfish decisions of the Fire Chiefs and board members that have agreed to this merger.  Our job is to serve the communities we represent in Berkeley County and this merger is going to help all of us in that mission. -Chief Lee Wadford, St. Stephen Volunteer Fire Department

I’m proud of the initiative these fire departments took to come together and better serve Berkeley County. It’s important for people to come to the table with open minds to find solutions that are reasonable and sustainable for the greater good. This is a great example of teamwork that will benefit citizens for years to come. -Johnny Cribb, Berkeley County Supervisor

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